Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Magazine Recycling

I was so excited to see this magazine recycling cart in the lobby of my local library last week. In an effort to reduce our paper clutter I have canceled all our magazine subscriptions, but until our current subscriptions run out we have a lot of magazines around the house. I have donated all our read magazines and have also picked up a few magazines to browse. I know, that doesn't help with my clutter, but once read the magazines get donated back. Judging from the constantly changing stock of magazines, I am not the only patron that loves this great idea.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

We eat a ton of peanut butter at our house. The problem we have is my daughter prefers the smooth creamy texture of brand name peanut butter and we would prefer she eats a healthier version without the added sugar. How do you make both sides happy? I decided to try my hand at making my own peanut butter, it turned out delicious and couldn't be easier! I put a pound of lightly sea salted dry roasted peanuts in my Ninja, turned it on and hoped for the best. At first the peanuts turned into peanut dust, then a chunky and dry paste. I was a little concerned that my experiment would fail. I soon discovered the key to creamy peanut butter is patience, after several minutes my peanuts had been transformed into creamy peanut butter! It is delicious and contains only peanuts so everyone is happy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

About a year and a half ago my friend and I got the crazy idea to start canning stuff. It was quite an adventure! We were armed with all our canning supplies, lots of berries, a video of this canning goddess who could can with both hands while shooting the video, and a good sense of humor. We had lots of fun, made some delicious jams & syrups, suffered a few minor burns, started a business, and created a life long friendship in that sticky kitchen. We went on to create many more messes in the kitchen as we made soup mixes, pumpkin butter, and more. I was also bit by the canning bug, it was much easier than I imagined. Fast forward to this week, my neighbor went on a cruise for two weeks and left me in charge of his tomato plants. I wish I could say I was a gardener, but so far I have a black thumb. The afternoon storms helped keep his plants alive since I am horrible about remembering to water and I was able to get some yummy tomatoes to can. I searched the Internet for info on canning tomatoes and came across the Growing a Greener World website which had great advice on canning tomatoes. A lot of the soups I make use crushed tomatoes and now I have some delicious sun-ripened tomatoes ready to add to my soup pot. Canning tomatoes was a little messy, but very easy. I can't wait to stock up on tomatoes this summer at the farmer's market and can them to enjoy all winter long.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

Okay to be honest I thought I hated hummus. It was a texture thing, most store bought hummus has the texture of wallpaper paste. This year when studying Ancient Greece we made some homemade hummus and what a difference! The flavors and consistency were amazing. When I was at Whole Foods one day they were sampling a spinach and artichoke hummus and it was delicious so I happily bought some. After devouring a few containers of the gourmet hummus, I decided it was time to save some money and to come up with my own recipe.

Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained
1/3 cup tahini
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
10 dashes garlic hot sauce ( I used Texas Pete)
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

I just tossed this all in my Ninja and blended it up. As you can tell we like garlic in this house, if you are not a huge fan of garlic, feel free to reduce the number of cloves you use. This recipe makes a ton of hummus for way less than you would spend on store bought. I also have leftover spinach to throw in my soup this week and leftover artichoke hearts to roast for sandwiches.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Today in honor of Earth Day my daughter and I cleaned up our road which we adopted through our city's Adopt-A-Road Program. Since we adopted our road 4 years ago we have noticed that our road has gotten much cleaner. The program coordinator mentioned that this often happens, when neighbors see others cleaning up the road it makes them more likely to pick up trash themselves.

We also did some spring cleaning of our closets and have many great items to donate to our local Goodwill store. I love Goodwill! They are great for helping people strive to reduce and reuse items. According to their website, Goodwill diverts more than two billion pounds of clothing and household goods every year from landfills. When you donate unwanted items to Goodwill you allow others to reduce their impact on the planet by purchasing used goods. When you shop at Goodwill you can not only reduce the amount of money you spend on items, you can reuse and recycle items that may otherwise end up in the landfill.

How did you celebrate Mother Earth today?